Payroll lending firms give reporter the business

I'm used to businesses where anything offered for sale can be printed out on paper to take home and consider. That is how many people comparison shop. That doesn't happen in payroll lending. Payroll lending businesses do not provide any information other than a rate chart on the wall until they get a look at a customer's financial information. Advance America, 101 Plank Road, was the first store I entered for a story on payroll lending (See Page A-1). The employee was polite, but couldn't give me any information until I brought in a pay stub and checking account information. Once I gave him information, he could discuss specifics. I explained I had never applied for such a loan before and didn't have those items. Then I started to copy down the rate information displayed on the wall showing annual percentage rates and the straight fees for loans of different amounts.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

I'm used to businesses where anything offered for sale can be printed out on paper to take home and consider. That is how many people comparison shop. That doesn't happen in payroll lending.

Payroll lending businesses do not provide any information other than a rate chart on the wall until they get a look at a customer's financial information.

Advance America, 101 Plank Road, was the first store I entered for a story on payroll lending (See Page A-1). The employee was polite, but couldn't give me any information until I brought in a pay stub and checking account information. Once I gave him information, he could discuss specifics.

I explained I had never applied for such a loan before and didn't have those items. Then I started to copy down the rate information displayed on the wall showing annual percentage rates and the straight fees for loans of different amounts.

The employee became upset when I started writing down information and asked what I was doing. I said I was just copying information so I could compare with other businesses. He refused to explain what each column of the chart meant.

When he continued to press me on why I would write it down, I told him I was a reporter working on a story. He immediately ordered me to leave the premises.

I agreed to leave as soon as I finished copying the chart. The employee made a quick call, presumably to his boss, and told me again to leave. He did give me a national number to call.

When I continued to write down the information, he made another phone call and told the person on the other end I refused to leave. "I'm not refusing to leave, but I am writing down information publicly displayed on the wall," I called out loudly enough for the person on the other end of the phone to hear.

I asked the employee if I could just talk to the person he was calling, but he refused and hung up. I asked if I could use his phone to call the national number and he told me he didn't have phone service.

This employee later called my editor and said I should be fired for disrupting his business. He admitted to my editor I had been in the store only minutes and no customers had been in the store.

I then headed across to Norwalk Korner's Plaza to the next business, National Cash Advance. I took a couple of minutes to compile my notes before that stop.

As I walked up to the door at 201 Milan Ave., I was met at the door by a woman who politely, but firmly, told me the company was owned by the same national company as Advance America and reporters were not welcome. She handed me a card with a different national number.

I headed across the street to Cashland at 214 Milan Ave. The manager there was friendly and told me what documents I needed to get a loan the standard pay check stub, checking account information, identification. When I told her I didn't have that information and asked if I could write down the loan information displayed on their wall, she said to write down whatever I wanted and also pointed out several brochures on services such as prepaid debit cards and information on several types of insurance and on identification theft protection. The manager said she couldn't give me any more information until I brought in my paperwork and filled out an application.

I told the manager I was a reporter working on a story and she said she knew because she'd already gotten a call with my description from the first store. They have different ownership, but the first store employee had made a round of "warning" phone calls.

My next stop was at American General, 461 Milan Ave., Suite 2. While the employees there said they couldn't give me any specific information until I brought in the necessary paperwork, they gave me brochures and explained the process. When I told them I was a reporter, they said they hadn't gotten a "warning."

They explained they were not allowed to make statements to the press and gave me their national number.

I headed to my next stop at Check Into Cash, 180 Whittlesey. This store had also gotten no advance warning so I went through the usual I didn't bring the necessary documents, but would like for you to explain the process to me. The employee told me she would explain it once I brought in the necessary documents. Since rates were also posted on the wall and were slightly different at the $800 range, I started copying down the information.

The manager objected to my writing down any information. I said I was a reporter and wouldn't ask her any questions since I understood she couldn't make any statements, but I was just writing down the information posted and needed a national contact number. She demanded I leave and refused to give me a national number to call.

I asked again for the number and she made two phone calls saying that I was copying down information and wouldn't leave. After another request, she wrote down a number on a post-it note and gave it to me, again demanding I leave.

All of the other numbers turned out to be legitimate, but the number I got from Check Into Cash was not the national company number, but instead a number for a national trade association which represents many paycheck lending companies.

I couldn't find the last store Fast Cash Express Tax Place by the address, 80 Whittlesey Ave., so I went back to the office to call for directions.

Comments

Watchdog One

What are they hiding? You can get a better deal from a loan shark.

888

Oh Hoosier Daddy This is simply a case of stupid is as stupid does.Please do not try to justify this to those of us who know better than to become entangled in a so called business.

Shaving with Oc...

With all due respect Ms. Boose, did those with whom you spoke think that you might perhaps have a preconceived agenda and be researching a hatchet piece?

greenwichian

Thanks to lending associations being in the pockets of politicians, there is legal loan sharking going on. If I were to try and loan somebody money at a 25% intrest rate I would go to jail!!! Tis a shame that these establishments just drive the down on their luck folks deeper and deeper into debt!!! Municipalities and townships need ordinances against these loan sharks!!!

ohiohoosier76 (...

greenwichian: where do you get 25%?

Richard Cranium

Mary, what are you trying to do, be the new I Team reporter in town? My god, I thought I was reading an article from News Channel 5.

If people think it's a rip off, then tell them to borrow the money elsewhere. These types of businesses are setup for people strapped for cash. No bank is gonna lend them $200 dollars for two weeks so they can fix their car or for some other short term unexpected event.

swiss family

yes these places are a business, and they make their money at peoples expenses, but what is the difference with them making such large amounts of money , on a short term loan, and all of the "rent to own" companies.. they too, prey on the disadvantaged...

and how about the "low cost" car ownership businesses for people with bad credit, they usually get a really bad car, and pay at least twice what it is worth, by making weekly or monthly payments..

and what about those cheap, disgusting motel rooms that you can rent for the day, or week or month?? usually they are full of people who can't afford to pay on a monthly basis, so they make weekly payments, and when you add together what they have paid for the entire month, they could have rented a nice small house, or apt, rather than some cramped, dirty, hotel room..

I would try to talk my friends out of ever falling into these scams, if possible, but if that's all they can afford, than they really don't have too much of a choice.. it is another example of free enterprise.. there is obviously a need for these businesses, otherwise they would go out of business...

instead of worrying about these, businesses that people freely choose to use, why not attack all of the big businesses that are robbing all of us, because they can.. like the gasoline businesses, and heating fuel companies, that have us dependant on them , and then raise their prices to an exorbitant amount that we can't afford.. much like a drug dealer!!! this is a real crime

beesefamily

I use to charge my family to sleep with me

Shaving with Oc...

The following is an email that Ms. Boose's sent to me directly in an attempt to bully and intimidate me.

Why did she not respond to my comments in this public forum?

It merely helps to substantiate my assertion that in writing her story about payday lenders, she had a preconceived agenda and that she was not objective in her reporting.

“Dear Sir:

I understand payroll lending has gotten bad press lately, but that is no reason for the rude and threatening treatment I received from two of the stores. The personnel at the other stores simply explained they were not allowed to make any comments and gave me the number of their national representative. They did not threaten to have me removed if I wrote down information posted publicly on their walls. Personnel at two of the stores were very unprofessional. One even gave me a wrong number for her national representative. When business people behave so unprofessionally, they need desperate help with their skills.

As you can see if you bothered to read the story, I simply reported the facts of both sides of the case. The only conclusion I drew - and that also is a fact and not actually a conclusion - is that the businesses have greatly expanded in the past 10 years in Norwalk and across the state.

MaryLisa Boose “

Shaving with Oc...

Let it be known that I am in no way connected with any and all payday lenders, nor have I ever used the services of such.

My concern is purely one of the rights of individuals to exercise their personal and financial freedom to enter into legally binding financial contracts of their own free will.

I do believe however, that personal financial ignorance is rampant in the United States as evidenced in part by our nation’s negative savings rate, the deplorable amount of consumer debt and additionally the almost widespread belief that honest and profitable American corporations are somehow conducting economic conspiracies against their customers and their nation.

.

LBJim

Boy 40 days thats some intimidating email ya got there, did you come under heavy sniper and mortar fire in Bosnia as well?

Shaving with Oc...

LBJim, Nice non sequitur my friend.